We first had temperatures of minus thirty-one nearly 10 days ago. I wanted to go to Williams Lake. I didn’t want to leave the house for long in those temperatures (it’s 4 hours’ drive each way at this time of year), and my worry was that I would get stranded for some reason and be unable to get home. I could have drained the plumbing before I left, but that would be a drag. Also, there were the dogs. They spend most of their time in my warm living room; they can let themselves out but not get back in. The outer room, where they have their kennels, is also well below freezing when it’s this cold. They can tolerate a lot but if I got stranded overnight, they would be in trouble.
Finally, only the van has a block heater – I certainly could not start any of the vehicles without heating the engine. I have little enough power as it is to use the solar power – I would have to start the generator. But the generator won’t start at these temperatures either. It is on a little wheeled cart, and I can bring it indoors: however, it has a small gas leak so I can’t get it too close to the stove…..
Town days at this time of year have to be Tuesday or Friday as that is when the farmer’s co-op is open. (They are open Saturday but the garage and a couple of other places are closed….)
The forecast was for warmer weather at the end of the week. It clouded over and salted a bit of snow, and Thursday night the temp rose to -25C. In the afternoon (-20C) I brought the generator into the outer room and opened the door to the living room. Made the living room pretty chilly, but after an hour I could start the generator, and another hour later, I could start the van.
It was overcast again and only -18C when I left for town at 4.30:am, so the van was easy to start. I decided to take the dogs in case I got stranded, and keep my fingers crossed regarding the plumbing. It was supposed to stay mild for a couple of days. (I had of course all emergency gear: sleeping bag, axe, chain saw, matches, food, and thermoses of hot water etc.)
Town was dreary and it even snowed a little, but it was a tropical -14C when I left. Half way home I drove into hazy sunshine. Logging is in full swing again now the ground is frozen; the trucks throw up a fog of snow dust behind them.About an hour and a half from home, I even got a sunset.The next morning was also quite mild (-18C) and I went to the school’s annual Santa Breakfast. I took the dogs again and let Harry run part of the way along the road.There is always a great catered meal,and then the kids perform. They gave a great concert of rousing songs – but this year there were only 13 or them! (Two more attend school but were away.) All the bigger kids went to Williams Lake last fall. A bus picks them up on Sunday afternoon and brings them home Friday night. During the week they are billeted. The school lost 6 kids that way this year. The powers that be would love to close it, but some of the kids would have to be bused over 2 hours each way to the next school – much too far for the little ones. Fortunately there are a number of youngsters that will join in the next couple of years.
Once again, I am handicapped by my very poor quality old camera so the indoor shots especially are very grainy. (I have ordered another on line – may not get to me until the new year.)
As seems to be the norm these days, were were also entertained by the marvellous Thompson family. Mum, Dad, and the middle boy in this picture.The other two boys here.They always play so well together, but their mum says it is very hard to get them to practice!
So I sneaked in a couple of days of events, but the forecast was now daunting. The icons won’t reproduce here so all I can give you is the written version.
Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 15. Wind chill minus 41 this morning and minus 31 this afternoon. Frostbite in minutes.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 32. Extreme wind chill minus 42. Frostbite in minutes.
Tue, 13 Dec Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 21. Extreme wind chill minus 42. Frostbite in minutes.
Night Clear. Low minus 32.
Wed, 14 Dec Sunny. High minus 21.
Night Clear. Low minus 29.
Thu, 15 Dec Sunny. High minus 21.
Night Clear. Low minus 34.
Fri, 16 Dec Sunny. High minus 21.
Night Clear. Low minus 33.
Sat, 17 Dec Sunny. High minus 17.
Night Clear. Low minus 26.
Sun, 18 Dec Sunny. High minus 10.
The Tuesday started foggy, but there was just a hint of colour on the mountains.Then it cleared.And by sundown there was not a cloud in the sky. (About 3.45:pm). When the sun pours into the cabin all day and I hardly need to keep the fire going. But I must get it roaring about half an hour before the sun goes.The sunrise, too, was diamond clear. It has been so rarely like this for most of the year.Now I can finally see the sunrise point along the S E horizon. It won’t change much by the shortest day. Time is a little after 8.00:am by the clock.But even daytime temperatures are chilly! The poor little chickadees are wearing their puffy jackets.They have special antifreeze in their blood to stop their tiny legs from freezing.Afternoons are the times for hiking these days. The river has lots of ice on it, but the water is much higher than it normally is at this time of year, and much of the ice will go when it gets warm again.
Harry’s coat is a gorgeous colour against the blue snow shadows. (He has received part of the advance for his book, by the way, and has already been contacted by his editor, although that work won’t start until the new year.)And there we are, on the north bluff, enjoying the SUN!!